Those who prey

Most people, I suspect, find it difficult to think dispassionately about such issues. The acts involved are so unspeakably offensive as to automatically provoke revulsion in anyone with a modicum of human decency. This makes it all but impossible to discuss the kind of predatory behaviour so graphically and disturbingly described by Andrew Tickell without emotional reaction exacting a heavy toll on rational thinking. But solutions are found in the same place as explanations – and nowhere else. If we are to address a problem in a meaningful way, we must first understand it. We must develop a profound understanding of these anti-social behaviours if we are to develop a strategy by which to limit or eliminate them.

Understanding starts with asking the right questions. And avoiding the wrong questions. Or at least avoiding getting hung up on the wrong questions. The question posed in the headline is a good example of a wrong question, in that it is a question which has no useful answer. If it even has an answer at all. The question is not “how men are capable of such crimes” but why do people behave in such a way.

The behaviour of the perpetrator (almost invariably a male) is only part of the dynamic. The behaviour of the predator cannot be fully understand in isolation from the behaviour of the prey. Even the behaviour of those who from a superficial examination seem uninvolved can be relevant to understanding the behaviour of the main actors – the predator and the prey individual.

It may seem callous to refer to the people involved using such language. But it is essential to be as detached as possible in order to achieve an illuminating overview. Calling such heinous acts a ‘problem’ may appear to understate the issue. Talking about ‘solutions’ may give an impression of oversimplification. But the language helps to take the matter out of the realm of emotion and allow reasoned analysis. If you find it offensive then you should probably stop reading now and return to the knee-jerk reactions which better suit your temperament.

No human behaviour can be adequately understood without reference to evolutionary psychology. It must be so since we all live with our evolutionary heritage. We are all operating with brains/minds which evolved in an environment in almost no way similar to that in which we now expect it to function. And to serve us well. All too often it doesn’t serve us well. All too often human behaviours are driven in whole or part by brains/minds which evolved behaviours appropriate to a world we can barely imagine, so different is it from the world in which we now exist.

Behaviours which were adaptive 100,000 years ago may now manifest in ways that are totally inappropriate in modern society. To this extent, those behaviours are ‘natural’. As far as the 100,000-year old mind is concerned, it’s the environment which is unnatural. To call behaviour such as spiking a woman’s drink with the object of raping her ‘natural’ is not to excuse it. There is no way to excuse such behaviour. It is merely to gain one little fragment of understanding of the behaviour. Gather enough of these fragments and you may be some way towards finding a ‘solution’.

They predator/prey dynamic can – for purposes of discussion only – be reduced to basics. It is an interaction between the predator and the prey. The predator is scouting for the weak and vulnerable. Predators tend to be highly risk-averse. If a potential prey looks even a little like it might fight back or otherwise cause difficulties, the predator will move on. This, we may mention in passing, is why it makes such good sense for potential prey (women) to take whatever precautions seem appropriate. Anything that makes them look less vulnerable is likely to deter would-be predators.

On this score it is gratifying to hear Kelly Grehnan of 50:50 Parliament discussing the kind of precautions that can make a difference.

But all the precautions imaginable will not stop the predators being predators. The ‘Don’t Be That Guy’ initiative is welcome. But it cannot substitute for sensible precautions. Much as we might wish it were otherwise, there will probably always be predators and woman will tend to be their main prey. Or children. But this subject is horrific enough without going there. If we are to ponder these matters calmly and rationally it is better to think in terms of the weak and the strong. It’s not men preying on women. It’s the strong preying on the relatively weak. From an analytical perspective the fact that the wek tend to be female is almost incidental. Blame evolution!

The key to understanding behaviour which however ‘natural’ it may be in terms of evolved psychology is grotesquely aberant in the terms that matter in practice, lies in the difference between men who exhibit the aberrant behaviour and those that don’t. It’s foolish to dismiss out of hand the observation that not all men behave in this way. Because it’s certain all men share the brain/mind bequeathed to us by our survivor ancestors. Another of those useful questions would be what prevents most men behaving in this way?

Use your imagination. Try to think of the ‘spiking/raping’ behaviour as normal. Which makes the ‘non-spiking/raping’ behaviour abnormal. What is wrong with the minds of the ‘non-spikers / rapists’ that stops them behaving normally. This may seem odd or even outrageous. But it is just this kind of thought exercise which brings insights. Turning the thing around. Looking at it from a different angle and seeing the previously unnoticed element.

I am not pretending to have solutions. In fact, I don’t think there are solutions. I think precautions are going to be the primary preventative for a long time. If things like the “Don’t Be That Guy” are looking to alter psychology evolved over millennia then change is a matter of generations. I could be wrong on that. I hope I am. The change required isn’t entirely a matter of individual psychology. Social attitudes play a part. And social attitudes are more malleable than the evolved lizard-brain. If ‘Don’t Be That Guy’ and other educational approaches have an effect then that can only be a positive. But we must not discount anything that helps prevent these incidents. If we focus on the precautions taken by women it is only because it is this which can have the most immediate effect.

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6 thoughts on “Those who prey

  1. If you will, Peter, I think you are getting your lizard brain mixed up with your reason instead of your reason overlaying your lizard brain. In very ancient, tiny, nomadic societies, it would have made some kind of evolutionary sense for males to either persuade a partner to come with you, away from her tribe (and avoid in-breeding at the same time) or to take a female by force as a prelude to lifelong partnership where children would cement the relationship, and this would be a step up from the chimp societies we see today, which are very close to ours in behaviour in both sexual relations and in predatory and violent behaviour. That the female might not have been too happy was neither here nor there, and the evolutionary need to procreate was paramount. Always, though, there must have been females who ran off, who had relations with other males, etc., if they were treated badly.

    However, we are living in the 21st century, in large societies, where we travel and mix socially in huge numbers. Males and females can easily find each other through all kinds of situations: work, travel, dating sites, social gatherings, and so on. These men in Mr Tickell’s article are predators because they choose to be predators, and, more often than not, they are fuelled by porn and drink/drugs, albeit those are not the actual causes, but enablers/influences. The thing with females is that they have an in-built creepometer, and they tend to try and avoid males who behave creepily, such as those who follow them around, who appear to expect some kind of positive response when they salivate over them, and so on. These males might be shy and have difficulty in talking to females, but, if they learn their behaviour from porn sites, females are going to reject them. Just taking what you want by spiking someone’s drink is cold-blooded predation, however.

    Females tend to like kind men who treat them well, who don’t treat them like they are a subhuman species or a sex toy with no mind, or a lump of meat, and who are willing to laugh with them, and, believe it or not, the man’s status and money are of far less importance. No point in having a wealthy husband if he controls your every breath and beats the crap out of you. That’s not to say that some women are not into rich men, but, just like all men are not rapists, neither are all women bloodsuckers. Women, on the whole, want equality of opportunity. I once studied a number of school dux boards when the cry went up some years ago that exams nowadays discriminate against boys and are the reason girls are doing so well. The duxes worked out at an equal ratio of female to male, even in the early 20th century. Girls are just smart, and they never had the chance to show it as they do now. They’re catching up and overtaking – which is, I believe, one of the reasons why so many young men and boys treat them so badly in relationships, the other being that unfettered access to extreme porn is an addiction like drugs, drink, gambling, etc., and allows them to view females as subhumans. Porn dehumanizes females as a staple.

    I believe we are reaching a time in our evolution when females are becoming really fed-up of all the crap that is out there. We’ll find a huge spike in lesbian numbers, trans men numbers and/or we will start to get really angry and fight back in ways we never have done before. In many ways now, females are retreating from womanhood as defined by men, in search of their own truth. They are not going to retreat and they are not going to be forced out of all public life again. The next wave of feminism is going to be very, very different from all that has gone before, and men are going to get the shock of their lives. Females are going to stop being nice to men and letting them have all their own way – and, trans women, that includes you. You are grossly offensive when you claim to be us, just as grossly offensive as it is to the black community when white people black-up. We don’t you or any other men in our spaces and rights that we fought for. Men’s myriad, sneaky ways of trying to get access to women, or others, when they don’t want them are being sussed. If it is natural, Peter, for men to want sexual access to females, it would appear to be equally natural for females to not want to give that access, except as an invitation.

    I think what the perceptive Mr Tickell was saying was: it is men’s sexual behaviour that requires to be explored and studied because it is becoming a very real problem in its sense of entitlement and predation. Society cannot survive under its entitlement. Unless men want to end up in an evolutionary cul de sac, with only themselves and each other to pleasure, they best get a grip – and not of unwilling females.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What do you imagine this means?

      “Behaviours which were adaptive 100,000 years ago may now manifest in ways that are totally inappropriate in modern society.”


      1. I’m not arguing with you, Peter. I’m saying that we have evolved – maybe not as much as we like to think – and it takes a certain mindset, rooted in modernity to actually get hold of a tranquillising drug and a syringe, not to mention a deliberation, planned ahead, towards the subduing and raping of another human being, don’t you think? There must also exist a certain cold-blooded dehumanising of the other who becomes nothing more than a lump of offal to park a penis in.

        So many behaviours that some men, in particular, display today may have their reflections in the past, but so much has changed in modern society that much of what is claimed to be innate behaviour is anything but: it is learned behaviour; it is chosen behaviour. No one at all under the sun is entitled to expect sex from anyone else, but the porn sites explicitly sell the opposite: just take what you want, and take it any way you like. It is not a human right – at least not yet, but who knows?

        It is also not a human right to be allowed to flaunt your fetish in public and expect others to condone it and actually participate in it. Would you like to take a bet that and legal entitlement to sex would apply only to men? Anything you do has to be tempered by the realisation that you may be hurting others. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If our behaviour was not often chosen behaviour rather than something ancient and tribal and innate, we would have stood still since very early times, still dwelling in caves, still hunting bison. We are both ancient and sophisticated animals – often with an aversion to seeing things how they are and to facing up to the truth of our own choices and behaviour.

        The Enlightenment in Scotland (and elsewhere) brought us to the philosophical and jurisprudential understand that we, yes, we are ruled by our passions, but our reason rules them. It is the one thing above all others that distinguishes us from the animals, and, to be honest, I am not even sure that most animals do not also have a very well-developed reason, too, although only we are able to articulate why and how it is applied to our passions.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I’m not arguing with you that we do retain some of our very early evolutionary imperatives, Peter, that’s all. And, by ‘your’ I meant ‘our’, as in the general sense, not specifically yours, as I’m sure you knew. What I am saying is that what is often excused as deep-seated and very ancient behaviour patterns are nothing of the kind, but very much products of the age we live in. If we had not recognized our propensity for behaviour that keeps dragging us backwards, and overlaid it with reason (which all laws are, really) we would not have evolved one iota.

            Several thousand years of philosophy and jurisprudence have helped us to understand that it is very seldom in our best interests to allow ourselves to follow our passions without applying the brake of reason to them. That is the problem we face now, because there are people out there in whose interests it is not to allow any kind of debate into bad behaviour. This bad behaviour has many faces, but the most prevalent and persistent one is the sexual bad behaviour that so many men seem to indulge in, to the point where the very foundations of our Western society are now on shifting sands. Men seem to lose all reason where sexual behaviour is concerned, and the trans issue is just a part of a very huge problem where we have trans identified men absolutely determined to gain access to women’s spaces and rights, allied with incel groups (deemed to be men’s sexual rights terrorists) and allied again to straight men’s sexual rights and men’s rights groups.

            All of these groups are modern phenomena and have the potential to be extremely dangerous indeed. If we say that their behaviour is ‘normal’ because it is innate – and I’m not saying you are saying that – we have then to ask what is ‘normal’ and innate for females, because there must be a corollary? To be raped, sexually assaulted, battered, punched, kicked, everything taken from us, silenced? Perhaps we should look back at the far past and try to glean some understanding? The only other times such a significant sexual incontinence, reverse roles, etc. have taken place have been in times of societal collapse. Does that help us? I think not.

            I do think that something seismic is happening, though, and this is the prelude to the collapse of what is known as patriarchy and male dominance in the West, and that is almost entirely down to men themselves. Strangely, I believe these odious, sexually predatory men sense that something is in the wind that will affect them very adversely and are lashing out, blaming women as per, for changes that we did not instigate. Females have never had the power in the past to effect change. I sense that they will in the future, as men force us into uniting and acting in our own and our children’s best interests in ways that we never have before, and we will not pander to their infantile demands that we hide away from all public discourse. Some of them will almost certainly kill some of us for having the nerve to stand up to them. Cowards always pick on those weaker, but didn’t Jesus promise that the meek would inherit the Earth?

            Sorry, Peter, I have kind of monopolized your site. I’ve enjoyed our little debates, though, as I hope you have, too. Will stay away for a while, but will be in touch. Oh, and, yes, I am a bit argumentative; I admit it.

            Liked by 1 person

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